Trying to conceive part 5

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Written March 26, 2017

Fertility treatments began recently.

I am already exhausted.

My story is unique, because all stories are unique. No two people go through the same process to get a family.

Our first appointment was just a consultation, we met with our Fertility Specialist and discussed our options. There are three options that we could go with, here they are;

Option 1: continue on the medication I’ve been previously taking, along with a new additional medication to help stimulate an egg. I would visit the clinic every few days for ultrasounds to monitor ovulation and once an egg is stimulated from the medication, I would take a hormone shot at home and continue to get ultrasounds regularly to see if anything happens to the egg.

Option 2: Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization (americanpregnancy.org).

Option 3: In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART). IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. (americanpregnancy.org).

 

Our first visit at the Fertility clinic was on February 13th. Up to now March 26, 2017 we have been to the clinic four times. Here are the appointments broken down a bit.

1st visit: Consultation:

We discussed the three options and decided to start off with the first option. We added another fertility medication to the one I was already taking, ultrasounds and eventually a fertility shot, if things were progressing. We did discuss that even though I had been on fertility medication to make me ovulate, I was actually not ovulating at all. So I had been thinking I was making progress for a year and a half while in reality nothing was happening at all.

We also discussed that because I have been TTC for close to two years we would skip option 2, (IUI), entirely if option 1 did not work. It would be better for us to work on Step 1 for 3-4 months and then go right to option 3, IVF.

2nd visit: Ultrasound

This ultrasound was to check on my eggs. Until this visit I had no idea if I even had eggs, but I was pleased to learn that I have an extreme amount of eggs, probably because I’ve never ovulated before.

After this visit I was told to continue taking Femara (Letrozole) the medication that I had been on since July 2015, but a much lower dose and to add Decadron (Dexa) once my eggs were stimulated.

Alex and I were so new to this process that we didn’t know what questions to ask and what to expect, so we called the clinic and were told to come in for another ultrasound and then a sit down with a nurse.

3rd visit: Ultrasound and Meeting with the nurse:

At this ultrasound they rechecked my ovaries and we chatted with a nurse who answered all of our questions, gave me a form that spelled out every step I needed to take and when I need to take them. I felt really good and positive about everything!

4th visit: ultrasound, Meeting with the nurse:

Today was our fourth appointment. I had taken the medications and was waiting to do the shot after a good ultrasound today. I sat on the exam table ready to be super uncomfortable but praying for a nice large stimulated egg that was ready to ovulate. My ultrasound tech was great, she was very vocal and pointed out what was on the screen and then she was quiet and I knew that there wasn’t an egg. She finished up and I got dressed. So close to tears I held Al’s hand and I prayed that there was an egg, how could there not be? How could I be on so much medication and still not have an egg that is really supposed to develop naturally?

The nurse came in and said that there was no sign of a stimulated egg. That I needed to come back in three days for anther ultrasound. Guys, I held it together, I said “ok”, scheduled an appointment and got in the car. Alex and I ran some errands (including getting a chocolate shake from Cold Stone) and we went home. I put on pajama’s and slept for hours. The cramping and uncomfortableness from the ultrasound along with the frustration I was feeling really  got to me. I felt very discouraged.

My story is unique, because all stories are unique. No two people go through the same process to get a family. In my story I have had a lot of negative news. Other than hearing that I actually do have eggs, my process has been daunting, I have been given bad news at every appointment for two years. I am tired, drained, mentally exhausted and sad. Saying this to my husband prompted his knight in shining armor skills and he held me while saying that this doesn’t mean it’s over. This just means in three days we re-strategize, we look at what we have, what we can do and then put our whole selves into our new plan.

So next week I will go back to the doctor, I will still be tired and drained, but I will pray with everything I have to hear something positive, and the next time I go to the doctor I will pray with everything I have to hear something positive and the next time and the next time and the next time. I will continue to pray, I will continue to hope and I know one day, somehow I will be a mother.

 

 

Trying to conceive part 4: My husband’s thoughts on baby making

Adult living, PCOS blog

Well friends, here it is, thoughts from my husband on our TTC process. Let me start this off by saying, this man is wonderful and while he may not have written this in the timely manner that I continuously nagged him to, he is an incredible man who puts up with my crazy and that is not an easy task! Enjoy Alex’s side of making babies!

 

On Fatherhood and our Fertility Journey

Jill’s always been far more ready to be parent than I have. Case in point is the delay it took for me to write this post compared to the prolific pace that she kept up by herself. I’ve been delaying this process as far back as I can recall. I’ve not always been the best partner on this journey and it’s a credit to Jill that she’s stuck with me throughout the whole ordeal.

Becoming fully bought in on the idea of becoming a father and starting a family was not a sudden thing for me, there was no inflection point or moment of clarity. I just thought about it one day and felt differently. I’m not sure if this the normal course of events for most men. I don’t have many friends that are my age and are dad’s and even if I did, I’m not sure it’d ever really be discussed in normal discussion (Guys don’t talk to each to each other about emotional stuff? Inconceivable!)

During our period of disagreement, my thoughts on the subject could best be summed up thusly, “I am such an asshole for postponing this, but I can’t bring myself to commit to this yet either.” There was nothing unique about my objections, I was uncertain about where we were going to live long-term, I felt very uneasy about our financial situation and at the end of the day, felt we could barely take care of ourselves, much less another human. My self doubt centered on the fact that deep down, Jill’s condition probably trumped my concerns and I resented my self-perception of not carrying equal weight in regards to this process. So I dug in, insisted that I was not ready and that we needed to progress further down our own paths before I could start this journey.

I’m particularly proud of the fact that Jill and I were able to both recognize that since we were at loggerheads over this issue, we’d be better served with a third party mediating. Finding compromise was not easy, but we were able to get there and are better off for having sought out help. The moral of this part of the story: Therapy works, don’t be afraid of it.

What I’ve ultimately found during this journey is that, as with most things, the fear and anxiety that occurs before a particular event is far worse than actually going through it. We have come a long way since we first discussed having children. We’re both at good places in our careers, own a home and generally take care of our business in a mature, adult fashion. We’re now more concerned with what our children will call my mother (we like “MeeMaw Jardo” A LOT, she… does not) or if they should play varsity sports before they’re upperclassmen (I don’t see a problem, Jill has strange ideas about this though…) and how we’ll announce we’re pregnant (not telling!)

This process has become, dare I say, fun? I’m genuinely optimistic about our prospects of getting pregnant and looking forward to all that comes with it. I’m excited for the next step and look forward to fetching Jill all kinds of strange food combinations at odd hours, reading all the pregnancy literature possible to keep her off my back (I think I’ve already told her I did this… don’t say anything.) and eventually waking up one day and thinking, “Let’s do it again.”

Trying to conceive part 3

PCOS blog

June 1, 2013: I am officially a married woman!

June 2, 2013: When are we having babies?

My poor, wonderful, understanding and kind husband. He is a SAINT! I have always loved babies and have wanted to be a mom my entire life. I truly believe that I was meant to be a mother. I did not do a great job hiding those feelings from my husband (even at 16 when we met) and he has constantly been supportive and incredible on my road to motherhood.

Something that helped Alex and I in this process was going to therapy. Really it was THE THING that helped us. We both wanted a family but we couldn’t work out the particulars by ourselves. I wanted to start trying the day after we got married, Alex wanted to wait until we were more settled. Having a family is not a simple decision. We fought, yelled, threw low blows and cried for months. We couldn’t work out the best way to start our family. We needed a third person to help us, guide us and not make us feel bad for saying what we really felt. We found a therapist who made both of us feel comfortable and made us feel that we could work this out, even when we felt hopeless. After a few months of weekly therapy sessions we decided on this…

Alex and I knew we wanted to graduate college before we had kids, so we did that (even though it took a while), we knew we wanted good jobs before we had kids (that happened surprisingly fast), then we knew we wanted to get a house before we had kids (again, took a while but we did that too). Now we had our degrees, our jobs and our house. We decided that 2015 was going to be our year!

January 2015 came and I (with supervision from my doctors) went off the majority of my medications, including birth control. My doctors wanted to see if because I had been on birth control for so long my body would just magically start having a regular period. So for three months we waited to see if that happened, it didn’t. We decided to go to an OBGYN and see what she said. We did tests, ultrasounds, blood work, exams and came to the conclusion that I was going to start a fertility medication called Letrozole. We started on the lowest dosage and would slowly work our way up to the highest dosage over five months if I did not ovulate.

Month one-No period.

Month two-No period.

Month three-No period.

Month four-No period.

Month five- PERIOD!

Month five was January 2016, six months after first seeing our OBGYN. So although we had already spent six months “trying” it wasn’t really trying because I wasn’t ovulating. Now I was ovulating, I had to track my cycle. Well, my body decided that wasn’t going to be easy either. Tracing from January to June, I had a 39 day cycle, a 34 day cycle, another 34 day cycle, a 32 day cycle, and a 38 day cycle. Remember a normal cycle is 28 days long, also for some reason ovulating tests were not accurate for me and I was told not to bother with them at all. I was getting my period, but we had no idea when I was ovulating…that part is pretty important when you are trying to conceive a baby.

June 2016 we switched medications to Clomid, another fertility drug. Six months of that and the cycles got weirder; 34, 40, 37, 36, and 38. We went back to Letrozole because I was at least having more regular periods with that drug. My doctor said that I can keep along the path we were on and I might get pregnant, but she also suggested that I should go to a specialist.

That is where I am now, waiting to see a specialist in February and hoping that they tell me something good. Something happy.

My experience is hard and daunting. My experience is sad and depressing. My experience is scary and painful, but my experience is not unique. I am not the only woman who struggles with infertility. It is a long and stressful path and I know that one way or another I will be a mother. My husband and I could get pregnant, we could adopt, we could have a surrogate; we have so many more options to consider. We will be parents one day, I will be able to look back at this blog and say “I am so glad that part is over!”

Next time, a little bit from Alex on the process.

 

Trying to conceive part 2

Adult living, PCOS blog

Well here we are on part 2!

First of all, I want to say thank you! I had a very uplifting response to my first “Trying to conceive” blog and truly appreciate everyone being so kind and supportive!

We left off when I was diagnosed and given medication to help me manage my symptoms. Next I had to be a teenager with weight gain, facial hair, lots of doctor visits and irregular periods all due to PCOS, plus going through puberty. Awesome.

I remember one time I had to get waxed, eye brows and upper lip (again, thanks PCOS!), I was at a salon getting it done and a boy from school came in to get his hair cut. I was MORTIFIED! I had to walk past him with red marks on my face and completely ignored him when he said “hi”. As a young teenager, this was the worst thing that could happen. I still get embarrassed talking about this, but this is part of my PCOS journey and hopefully some girl out there will read this and know that this shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed about. This is part of PCOS and so many women with and without the syndrome deal with it.

To help me get through this awkward time I went to the electrolysis regularly and still do because GUESS WHAT! – with PCOS you get continual hair growth! I have been on medication that helps with preventing new hair growth but with trying to get pregnant I needed to be off a majority of my medications, so I am back at the electrolysis. The best part of going to the electrolysis is that I now have a relationship with my electrolysis. I have known her for over 10 years and she works me in, she helps me and works with me through any issues I have. She is awesome and I am SO thankful for her!

So from age 15 to age 24, I took medication, went to electrolysis, visited the doctor once a year and did a lot of blood tests.

After I got married in 2013, baby fever hit in and the insane process of trying to get pregnant started…